Twins 1B Morneau no closer to return

Justin Morneau was absent at Target Field when his Minnesota Twins returned home to open a three-game series against Detroit, and he may be out for a while as recovers from a concussion that happened nearly two months ago.

Doctors told Morneau to stay at home until at least Friday, manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday. Gardenhire said it wasn’t a setback and that Morneau would continue to do some cardio work and other workouts from home.

”He’s following doctors’ orders,” Gardenhire said. ”He’s doing exactly what they want him to do.”

The manager declined to go any further into a condition that doesn’t appear to have improved considerably since the All-Star first baseman was injured sliding into second base in Toronto on July 8. Morneau has experienced lingering symptoms from the concussion ever since, but many were encouraged when he started taking swings and joining the team in the dugout for some home games a few weeks ago.

The former AL MVP’s return sure would be a boon to the Twins, who started the day four games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central race.

Right fielder Michael Cuddyer has filled in admirably at first base for Morneau, just as he did a year ago when Morneau missed most of September and the playoffs with a back injury.

The White Sox added slugger Manny Ramirez from the Dodgers on Tuesday, giving them another big bat as they try to chase down the Twins in the division.

Minnesota has added relievers Randy Flores and Brian Fuentes to bolster its bullpen, and getting Morneau back would add some more firepower to an already potent lineup.

But there is still no timetable for a return, and the Twins have said all along they won’t rush one of their biggest stars back to action.

Jim Thome has also helped pick up the slack, emerging as the everyday DH while he slugs his way up the career home run chart. But Thome was not in the lineup on Tuesday night because of a stiff back. He is listed as day-to-day.

Delmon Young got his first start of the season at DH in Thome’s absence and Jason Repko was inserted as the left fielder.